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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-04

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papoulias plea for peaceful remembrance of pupil Grigoropoulos
  • [02] Elati: A jewel in the southern Pindus mountain range
  • [03] Econ Minister in NY
  • [04] President on relations with Turkey
  • [05] ASE opening: Decline

  • [01] Papoulias plea for peaceful remembrance of pupil Grigoropoulos

    President Karolos Papoulias, in a message on Friday referring to 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos' killing by a police officer on December 6, 2008, during an incident in the Exarhia district of Athens, said that "Alexis Grigoropoulos' murder was not only a heinous act. It was a lesson to all of us on where arbitrariness may lead".

    Papoulias noted "the action and its dimensions do not lessen and are not forgotten in the subconscious of society, and particularly the youth".

    "I once again express my support to Grigoropoulos' parents and friends. I once again express my faith in and guilt towards the young generation, to which we owe the ensurance of a more just society. I hope that Alexis' memory will be commemorated peacefully, because that is the least we owe him," the President concluded.

    [02] Elati: A jewel in the southern Pindus mountain range

    ‘he village of Elati, one of the most popular tourist destinations during the Christmas holidays but also the year-round, is an exceptionally picturesque small village nestled in the southern part of the Pindus mountain range in Trikala prefecture, central Greece. It is built at an altitude of 950m in the middle of a fir forest, in an environment of exceptional natural beauty. Visitors have many options to experience sports such as mountaineering, skiing, trekking, cycling, horseback riding and climbing. The area is also noted for its diverse fauna and flora, including bears, wild pigs, wolves and jackals, while partridges and woodcocks nest in the woods. A plethora of cafes, traditional settlements and restaurants offering home made products are some of the treats the area may offer to visitors.

    [03] Econ Minister in NY

    New York (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)-- Greece has four fundamental strategic advantages for attracting investments, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli said on Thursday night, during a press conference on the sidelines of the 11th annual Capital Link forum, at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, titled "Greece: preparing recovery".

    The first advantage is the country's "strategic position" at the "crossroads of three continents", Katseli said, explaining that "it is power when a country is situated amidst emerging economies, in a region where investments can be made and an entire region can be served".

    "Greece's comparative advantage is not only the domestic market of 10 million people, but a much wider market that can be services from Greece," she said.

    The second major advantage "has to do with Greece's nature and the environment".

    It is not incidental that Greece is at the top of the list of countries with respect to attracting tourism and investment interest, noting that its expansive complex of islands is greatly significant to international investors, who truly want to invest their money because they know that they can potentially have a very high yield. And it was in the least oxymorous for a country such as Greece to not have developed sea tourism, in other words, that it does not have the best marinas in the region, that it does not have health & wellness tourism, or the cultural tourism it should have, she continued.

    Greece's third comparative advantage is its culture. "We never looked at culture as a source of foreign exchange, as a substantive strategic tool in a developmental strategy," Katseli stressed, adding: "For me, it truly breaks my heart when I go to Mycenae and see the weeds growing tall and downgraded services".

    The minister noted that she and the culture minister, in a meeting on Tuesday, decided to mobilize both ministries so that every archaeological site, "every part of our country that has cultural treasures", will be very carefully developed. Noting that Greece also lacks theme parks, Katseli added that she spoke recently with the Viotia Chamber of Commerce about the idea of setting up a Hercules theme park. "If any other country had the (cultural) wealth that Greece has, it could do miracles. It's time that we do this ourselves."

    The fourth comparative advantage, according to Katseli, has to do with the people. It is not incidental, she said, that the Greeks, wherever they find themselves, "work miracles", and cited the shipping sector as an example.

    "But not only there...in the arts, in the sciences, everywhere. At this time, investing in Greece and in its human element is feasible, and I believe that we proved this with the (Athens 2004) Olympic Games. We are indeed a country where an investor in the field of cutting edge technologies or biology or culture will have a truly well-trained staff, with many dexterities and abilities. Consequently, an investor will gain from all four of these very significant advantages that Greece has," Katseli said, adding: "What we must do, and this is the challenge for the current government, is to eliminate the counter-incentives".

    Katseli also noted that she had spoken earlier in the day with a plethora of businessmen from the monetary and credit sector, major banks, the fields of shipping and renewable energy sources (RES), with whom she discussed Greece and its prospects. "What they were all interested in was what the new government will do, what its program will be, for recovery of the economy and proceeding with the deep changes needed by the country for its development".

    "I discerned in these conversations their concern about the need for investments to go ahead, she said.

    The minister noted that many entrepreneurs had bad experiences in the past and were rather disappointed, having met with obstacles throughout the entire process from applying for permits for an investment project all the way to the commencement of operation of the enterprise. She said that eliminating bureaucracy is one of the priority commitments made by the present government before the elections, and her ministry was moving quickly so as to table a legislative framework in 2010 simplifying all the procedures while, in collaboration with the various Chambers, it was taking the steps necessary so that entrepreneurs will find themselves in a friendly environment in which to advance an investment.

    [04] President on relations with Turkey

    PRAGUE (ANA-MPA / N. Megadoukas) - Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday underlined, during his official visit to the Czech Republic, Athens' standing positions vis-à-vis relations with Ankara as well as the thorny "name issue" involving the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) from Prague.

    Papoulias' comments come days before European Union consultations on the promotion of Turkey's EU accession course and a decision on whether to start accession talks with fYRoM.

    "We are not going to make concessions for Turkey," Papoulias said, while also cautioning that "if fYRoM does not compromise (on the name issue) a repeat of Bucharest will occur," -- a reference to the neighbouring country's failed bid to join NATO due to the nagging dispute.

    Moreover, Papoulias appeared pessimistic over the issue of Cyprus, saying that "I cannot see that we could have a conclusion and a solution to the problem."

    In an interview with the mass-circulation Czech daily "Pravo", and replying to a relevant question, he stressed that Turkey is a "difficult neighbour" with which relations are very good in terms of trade and tourism, "but we have many problems, problems in the Aegean, a disputing of our territorial waters and airspace, while violations of our national airspace come on a daily basis."

    The Greek president noted that Athens supports the neighbour's accession to the EU and clarified that it is one of the paradoxes that "we encounter many times, but it has a reasoning (behind it), because if Turkey at some point succeeds in becoming an equal member of the EU, then we might not have a series of problems that we have today."

    He also stressed that issues dealing with Turkey are not easy in relation to the EU, noting that certain European countries opening express their opposition to Turkey's full membership.

    "And, of course, Turkey has many problems that it must resolve. We are not going to accept concessions for Turkey when we demanded that Romania and Bulgaria fulfill all of the strict commitments and terms set for them by the Union," he added.

    On the Cyprus question, Papoulias said there talks between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, warning, however, that "we must bear in mind that Mr. Talat is an organ of Ankara's policy."

    He further stresses that he does not believe Cyprus will ever agree with the prospect of Turkey becoming an EU member as long as the latter fields an occupation army on the territory of an EU member-state, in this case, Cyprus.

    "I cannot see that we could have a conclusion and a solution to the problem. In any case, Turkey's military leadership is constantly stating that Cyprus is of great strategic importance for the interests of Turkey," he added.

    In a related development, Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, who is accompanying Papoulias on his visit to the central European country, held bilateral contacts with the Czech Trade Minister and the country's Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for its international economic relations, during which ways of further increasing bilateral economic and trade cooperation were discussed.

    On the second day of his official visit to the Czech Republic, Papoulias met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Miroslav Vlcek, laid a wreath at the Vitkov national monument and was given a guided tour of the renowned Strahov monastery.

    Caption: President Karolos Papoulias (C) tours Prague on the sidelines of his official visit to the Czech Republic on Thursday 3 December 2009. ANA-MPA/ MARGARITA KIAOU

    [05] ASE opening: Decline

    Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 2.63 percent, standing at 2,304.50 points at 10:55 a.m., and turnover at 64.8 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, the biggest losses were in Technology, down 3.84 percent; Public Utilities, down 3.82 percent; Banks, down 3.53 percent and Construction, down 2.44 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 2.93 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 1.86 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 1.19 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 15 were up, 95 were down, and 14 were unchanged.


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